Saints strong in second half


Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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St Helens needed a supercharged second half show to maintain their 100 per cent First Utility Super League record with a 30-20 win at Widnes.

Both sides were without several key players but Widnes deserved their 14-6 interval lead before the champions ran in 24 second half points.

Lance Hohaia crossed for two of the visitors’ five tries, with others from the outstanding Atelea Vea, Luke Thompson and Jordan Turner. Travis Burns kicked five goals.

Widnes led at the break thanks to tries from Eamon O’Carroll and Patrick Ah Van in front of 7,772 fans.

The hosts were missing skipper Kevin Brown, Cameron Phelps, Lloyd White, Manase Manuokafoa and Hep Cahill with Danny Craven, Stefan Marsh, Grant Gore and Macgraff Leuluai back after last week’s defeat at Huddersfield.

St Helens, without James Roby and banned Kyle Amor, were strengthened by the return of Burns from suspension, while Paul Wellens reverted to his old full-back spot in the absence of injured Jonny Lomax.

Josh Jones and Andre Savelio replaced injured Mark Percival and Mark Flanagan, who were also injured in the win at Wakefield with Luke Walsh still missing.

Widnes notched their first home win over Saints for 20 years last season and made a flying start with O’Carroll charging over from short range after Danny Tickle was held short.

Tickle had no problem with the straightforward conversion to fire his side into a 6-0 lead.

Alex Walmsley almost forced his way over for Saints but was bundled into touch by determined tackling.

The Vikings defence was not as impressive after 15 minutes with Hohaia scampering over from dummy half, with Burns adding the goal to level at 6-6.

Saints continued to pile on the pressure before Widnes were only denied on the break by a try saving tackle from Tommy Makinson on Joe Mellor before a thundering midfield burst by Ah Van.

Makinson was forced to quit injured with Widnes regaining the lead with Rhys Hanbury’s pass putting Ah Van over in the corner and Marsh booting the touchline conversion with Tickle having gone off.

Marsh struck a penalty five minutes before the interval to make it 14-6 and Saints could have no complaints after sloppy handling.

Paddy Flynn failed to collect the restart and Widnes paid the price with Ah Van fumbling a Jon Wilkin kick – Vea pounced and Burns converted to cut the gap to 14-12.

The Vikings lost Chris Dean with a rib injury and were forced to drop out twice in quick succession from under their own posts as Saints stepped up the tempo.

The pressure told with teenage forward Thompson forcing his way over to give Saints the lead for the first time after 53 minutes with Burns’ kick edging them ahead 18-14.

Saints put daylight between the sides four minutes later after a thundering burst from Vea with Wellens in support to send Turner over and make it 24-14.

Hohaia wriggled over for his second try to add to the Vikings’ woes on the hour and stretch the lead to 30-14.

Danny Craven looked certain to notch a third try for Widnes after a long range break but stumbled and was stopped by Matt Dawson.

Widnes managed a late try from Aaron Heremaia but paid the price for their poor start to the second half.

Published: Friday 13th March 2015 by The News Editor

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